On the Road Again, Newark: The Eatery
Posted by cmh gourmand on April 23, 2009
44 West Locust Street (4th and Locust, off SR 13)
Monday to Saturday 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Sunday 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM
My job takes me on the road on occasion. Everytime I hit the road, I take a big hit because the work piles up in the office. However, the time behind the wheel is the only peace I get during the workweek – I can’t have a blackberry or a non Flintstone era laptop so the drivetime is dead time. My area is Columbus, Southeast Ohio and the non populated parts of Northeast Ohio. I see a lot of small towns and back roads. The real bonus is that I often get to eat lunch – as in sit at a table and eat an actual meal, something that rarely happens when I am in my cubical farm.
Other than NPR and some rocking i Pod playlists, what really makes my back road public service bearable is my sixth sense for good small town eateries, I can always find the best place to eat in any town I land in. When I was in Newark, my discovery was The Eatery.
Walking through the door I could have walked into 1961, 1978 or later, the place is a timeless small town diner. Whether you are 21 or 60 and whether your waitress is 16 or 36, you are going to be called hon or honey – multiple times. There is a round pie case on display just as you enter. It is stacked with some great looking pies that look like they should be on the cover of a magazine or maybe a centerfold. I knew this was going to be my lunch spot before my waitress called me hon and told me to sit wherever I liked. The locals tolerated me being a non local. I slid into my booth and surveyed the menu.
I ordered the Shepard’s Pie, a special for the day with a side of coleslaw. Both were good. Coleslaw is my diner canary in a coal mine, if it sucks so goes the meal. I was served the standard two rolls with butter swatches and plenty of refills on my beverage. I asked the waitress for pie guidance but she was stumped because “they are all so good, honey”. I believed her – I know good pie when I see it. Finally we decided I would have the double fudge cake because it just came out from the kitchen. Two layers of cake, separated by a dense, pudding like layer of fudge and encased in a thick chocolate icing with a big tear drop shaped dollop of buttercream frosting on top. Damn that cake was good.
The Eatery does breakfast all day – an essential for the quintessential Ohio diner. Some interesting deals are offered during the week. On Tuesdays, free dessert comes with your entree from 4PM to 7PM. On Wednesdays, there is a beat the clock feature on several dinner entrees. If you arrive before 5 PM, your meal is $5, if you arrive before 6:15 PM your meal is $6.15. Who in the heck would come after that anyway since the restaurant closes at 7PM?
Downtown Newark has an old school town square that is filled with independent businesses – not a Starbucks to be seen. Driving through I could see a sign for a big book store called Cindamar as well as The Buckeye Winery – two places that could keep me busy for a long time – if I had the time, but I had to get back on the road to my next appointment. I should have bought a whole pie before I left – the road can be lonely, but not when you have pie at your side.